October 24, 2014 update on the Proposed “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act”
On April 21, 2014, EPA and the Corps published the proposed rule “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” in theFederal Register (79 FR 22188). The public comment for the proposed rule closes on November 14, 2014. The independent SAB has completed a peer review of the proposed rule’s primary supporting document, EPA’s draft report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis. The peer review was drafted by the SAB’s Panel for the Review of the EPA Water Body Connectivity Report and approved by the chartered SAB. The final peer review has been placed as a supporting document in the docket for this proposed rulemaking and is available on the SAB’s website, http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebCommittees/BOARD
SAB Review of the Draft EPA Report Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence
For the Federal Register, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-24/pdf/2014-25138.pdf
January 29, 2015, Withdrawal of the 2014 Interpretive Rule Regarding Applicability of the Agricultural Exemptions and Exclusions from Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) are announcing the withdrawal of an interpretive rule addressing the exemption from permitting provided under section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies want to make clear that the statutory exemption of 404(f)(1)(A) still remains available for use when applicable for discharges of dredged and/or fill material associated with normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities that are part of an established operation and that do not have as their purpose bringing an area of waters of the U.S. into a use to which it was not previously subject, where the flow or circulation of the waters of the U.S. may be impaired or the reach of such waters be reduced (see 33 CFR 323.4 for more information).
On March 25, 2014, the Agencies signed an interpretive rule, “Interpretive Rule Regarding Applicability of the Exemption from Permitting under Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act to Certain Agricultural Conservation Practices,” that addressed applicability of the permitting exemption provided under section 404(f)(1)(A) of the CWA to discharges of dredged or fill material associated with certain agricultural conservation practices. Congress subsequently directed the agencies to withdraw this interpretive rule. See, Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriation Act, 2015, Division D, section 112, Pub. L. No. 113-235.
On January 29, 2015, the agencies signed a memorandum withdrawing the interpretive rule and this action is effective immediately. The Memorandum of Understanding signed on March 25, 2014, by EPA, Army, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, concerning the interpretive rule is also withdrawn. The signed memorandum withdrawing the interpretive rule is available at http://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/RegulatoryProgramandPermits.aspx The Federal Register Notice announcing the withdrawal will be published at www.federalregister.gov Similar public notices are being published concurrently by other Corps district offices.
DATES: The interpretive rule is withdrawn as of January 29, 2015.
For further information please contact: Ms. Stacey M. Jensen, Regulatory Community of Practice (CECW–CO–R), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 441 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20314; telephone number 202–761–5856; e-mail address: USACE_CWA_RULE@usace.army.mil
Enforcement Action: On November 22, 2011, the USEPA signed a final consent agreement and order with 3-D Development, LLC assessing a Class I civil penalty of $6,750.00 under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for unauthorized work on a subdivision in College Station, Texas. The work was discovered by the Regulatory Branch and referred to USEPA as a knowing and willful violation. Concurrent processing of an after-the-fact permit was authorized by the USEPA and the Regulatory Branch authorized the project on August 19, 2011.